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Promises Us Super Times With A Celebration Of Fab Queer Talents

Top Secret Quote Bubble Banner in black, with montage of photos of the festival. Caption: 'Scotland's annual celebration of queer culture'

Mission 1: Discover The Best of the Merchant City

Some Glasgay venues sit within The Merchant City, or are close to it so why don’t I make a start there? The Merchant City is a clearly defined area of Glasgow city centre, from George Square to the High Street and down to the Clyde.

It's partly residential, has lead the way in the regeneration of Glasgow to the shiny penny we all love today, and is forever cool and cosmo.

As the Merchant City is such a compact area you shouldn’t have too much walking to worry about. glasgow the tron theatre high drama

The main Glasgay venues in the Merchant City are The Tron Theatre, Q! Gallery and Studio and St. Andrews in the Square.

Just across the river is Citizens Theatre, known locally as The Citz, and under Central Station’s lines into the city is The Arches Theatre.

Although Citizens Theatre is across on the south side of the Clyde, with very little around, bear in mind that it really is only about 400 metres back to the Merchant City, where the bright lights will be waiting for you.

The Tron Theatre is a very busy and popular Glasgay venue, and has hosted the opening party in previous years. In 2008 the party takes place before the festival kicks off, on the evening of Friday 12 September.

Several Glasgay performances will take place in its flexible show areas, from big crowd pleasers to more intimate shows.

Having two bars and a decent restaurant makes The Tron a must, especially during Glasgay when the whole place buzzes with a happy vibe.

Best of the Glaswegian Gay Scene...

It must be clear to you, whether you’re new to Glasgow or not, that there is a vibrant LGBT scene going on. Perhaps not as large as the scenes in London or Manchester, there is a distinct gay quarter in this great city.

And here’s the cool news for Glasgay – its right on the west boundary of the Merchant City.

Everyone's Guilty Pleasure?...

glasgow bennets reflected beauty Bennets night club on Glassford Street has been Glasgow’s centre of gay fun nights out for more than 25 years.

Cheesy and camp, Bennets is as friendly as clubs come, and now and again even attracts hen nights (groups of straight women celebrating a friend’s up-coming wedding).

Revellers can be sure of a hoot without unwanted pawing from straight males.

Lesbian woman are, of course, well catered for too, with regular woman-only nights.

Mirror Mirror On The (Toilet) Wall...

glasgow the polo lounge gay may play

Just round the corner is The Polo Lounge, with its huge ground floor bar, just stuffed with big armchairs and sofas.

There are two dance areas and bars downstairs, open until the wee small hours.

Here are a couple of Polo Lounge tips for you:

  • Get in before 11pm and entrance is free
  • When you visit the loo, watch out for the mirror by the urinals – it’s actually a one-way mirror. So it’s a completely clear window from the outside. Think ‘Big Brother’ on Channel 4 and you’re there. So choose your spot with care, however that idea takes you!

You can also pop through to Bar Moda, (or enter from Virginia Street around the corner). With loud pumpin’ music and a fairly young crowd, Moda is the place to meet up after a hectic shopping spree and to watch today’s flavour of eye-candy do its thing.

Shop Til You Drop (Them)...

glasgow clone zone hidden pleasures

Leaving the Polo Lounge, turn right and you’ll see Clone Zone tucked behind a rather anonymous looking sandstone doorway on Virginia Street.

If you just have to have a DVD or magazine full of hunky bears in the scud, or sleek young euroboys or girls getting’ down to it, this is the place for you.

Of course, you might want to check out some of their gay and lesbian erotic fiction, or treat yourself to a pair of leather shorts while you’re here.

We find that a visit to Clone Zone is great fun, just to find out what’s new and to catch up with the extremely cool greetings cards and calendars out this season.

Is That A Pistol In Your Pocket?...

glasgow revolver load your big pink gun

Last, but by no means least, is Revolver Bar opposite the Italian Centre in John Street. It’s a mere minute’s walk from Bennets, and very different from the other gay bars in Glasgow.

Cool and minimal, with fairly bright lighting and an industrial feel, the Revolver Bar attracts older and younger gay folks, checking out the talent and having a noisy old time of it.

Their freebie digital juke box is fun and there’s even a pool table tucked around the corner of the bar if you fancy.

Perky Pre-Theatre?...

glasgow guys quirky decor

For excellent pre-theatre in the Merchant City, check out the award-winning food and funky “once-a-tree” furnishings of Cafe Gandolfi.

Rab Ha's cosy bar with nibbles and Guy's Franco-Scots funkiness both offer warm welcomes.

Cafe Mao and its playschool-vibrant setting is perfect for an Asian feast.

Tron Victorian Bar – of course – and its close sister, Tron Bar are both super cool.

Amarone is a mere five minute Italian-shoed walk away, on the other side of George Square.

Booking is a good idea, especially at Café Gandolfi and The Tron. In fact, The Tron plays such an active part in Glasgay that the atmosphere is constantly buzzing.

Getting a table at the last minute during Glasgay is next to impossible. You have been warned!

Party Drinks?...

glasgow brutti ma buoni kilted service

Now, where else do I rate for a good drink, for either before or after the show of your choice? In the Merchant City, it’s hard to beat Babbity Bowster.

Full of crumbling character, Babbity Bowster has been loved by locals since the early 80’s. There is an outdoor beer garden here, but during Glasgay it might feel a bit nippy for most!

Citation in the old Sheriff Court building has plenty of room for a drink or indeed something to eat.

In a prime Merchant City location and close to all local venues, this is a cool bar restaurant to visit. The same can be said for Brutti Ma Buoni in The Brunswick.

Now where? Up for another Top Secret Glasgay Mission?... There are five in total to choose from…

have your own page... welcome to my-page

Time to grab your very own page all about Glasgay 2008! festival.

Not just a tiny comment (lost in deep cyber-space)... Not even a whole blog post ("vanishing" into "archives" a week later)... You will have your own entire page on for all eternity (or until the internet blows up!)... live 24-7...

Welcome to my-page - the easiest way ever to grab you own tiny piece of the web.

So, if you are as big a fan as me, why not tell the world why this makes you want to run open-armed and panting into its open arms.

Big it up! Shout about it! Jump up and get down!

(Of course, you could always just calmly type out a few random thoughts about it too. Whatever takes your fancy...)

Do share with us all below...

share a great story about Glasgay! Festival...

Do you have a special story about Glasgay! Festival? A funny experience? A grand occasion? A funky photo? A personal tip? A top secret?

Well… spill!...

(need some inspiration? OK - then check out Glasgay! Festival stories from your fellow visitors first...)

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